US, EU, UK outline plans to ditch Russian energy

Madrid Desk, Mar 8 (EFE).- The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom on Tuesday outlined plans to phase out imports of Russian energy with White House leader Joe Biden announcing a complete ban on Russian oil and gas.

“We’re banning all Russian gas and energy, that means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine,” the US president said in an address from the White house.

“Americans have rallied to support the Ukrainian people and made it clear we will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war.”

He acknowledged that not all European nations would be in a position to match this policy, adding that his administration was “working closely” to help the continent reduce its dependency on Russian gas.

Some 40% of the EU’s natural gas imports flow from Russia.

“The US produces far more oil domestically than all the European countries combined, in fact we’re a net exporter of energy,” Biden added.

The European Commission on Tuesday published an outline of a plan to wean itself off Russian energy, starting with gas, in response to president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Brussels proposed that the bloc become independent Moscow-provided fossil fuels “well before 2030” starting with a two-thirds reduction of gas imports by the end of this year.

Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: “We must become independent from Russian oil, coal and gas. We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us.

“We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter and accelerate the clean energy transition.”

Proposals on how to regulate rising energy prices and shore up reserves in the face of uncertainty will be discussed with EU leaders later this week.

The UK, no longer an EU member and less reliant on Russian imports compared to countries like Italy and Germany, announced its own plan to phase out Russian energy imports by the end of 2022.

“This transition will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports – which make up 8% of UK demand,” Kwasi Kwarteng, the country’s business and energy secretary, said.

“The market has already begun to ostracise Russian oil, with nearly 70% of it currently unable to find a buyer. Finally, while the UK is not dependent on Russian natural gas — 4% of our supply — I am exploring options to end this altogether,” he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russia’s deputy prime minister Alexander Novak alluded to reprisals if the West decided to embargo Russian gas, including cutting off the Nord Stream I natural gas supply.

Fossil fuel giants Shell and BP have both announced intentions to end their operations in Russia.


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